When your engine turns over, but will not start, it can feel devastating.

Usually, the most common causes, are in the ignition or fuel system.

So, it could mean, your engine is having trouble, producing a spark, getting fuel, or even creating compression.

Consequently, what “engine turns over but will not start” doesn’t generally mean, is a problem with the starter. Because, if the engine cranks normally, you don’t have a starter problem.

The most common causes are usually, in the ignition or fuel system. However, the source may also be, a mechanical fault (for example, a leaking valve) or faulty parts in other systems.

Whatever you do, avoid cranking the engine repeatedly, with the hope that the engine will fire up. You may drain your battery of power and damage the starter motor in the process. Instead, try to use the charge left in your battery to locate the fault.

When trying to find out why your car doesn’t want to start, keep in mind these possibilities:

Sensors and Engine Codes

The computer in modern vehicles monitors and controls, a good number of sensors and actuators. Scan your computer memory for trouble codes, before you do anything else. Even if the check engine light hasn’t come on, you may find a pending code, that can help. False input or lack of input from sensors, can prevent the engine from starting. Things like, the crankshaft position sensor (CKP), or camshaft position sensor (CPS). Also, a bad throttle position sensor (TPS), may cut off the spark to the cylinders.


If the engine cranks slowly, you may be dealing with:

  • A discharged battery
  • Loose or corroded battery terminals
  • Starting system wires

Starting System

If the engine doesn’t crank or makes an unusual noise when cranking, you may have a starting system problem.
The car’s security system may have made an error, that disabled the fuel or ignition system. And, this may even include, a failed chip in the key fob.

So, to troubleshoot, a built-in security system, consult your car owner’s manual. Also, check for a blown fuse, that may be preventing a circuit, from working properly. Consequently, effecting the fuel injection or computer system.

Finally, while it is a little on the unlikely side, check that you aren’t experiencing a compression issue. A leak down test could show low compression, exposing a failed head gasket or bent valve. Low or no pressure in all cylinders, would also be a reason that an engine won’t start. And, it’s often a sign of serious engine damage, like a broken timing belt/chain, camshaft, or other bottom end parts.

Choose Your Engine Turns Over But Will Not Start Help Topic Below

Engine Not Starting – Narrow Down The Two Types Of Engine Not Starting

Engine Cranks – But Fails To Start – What Should You Do

Cranks But Fails To Start – Ignition, Fuel, Compression Are Good

Fuel Pump Related No Start Problems – What Should You Check

Crankshaft Camshaft Sensors Are Both Required By Distributorless Ignition

Throttle Position Sensor (TPS) – Monitors Throttle Valve Position

Automotive Fuses – If Any Electrical Item Fails – Check The Fuses First

Thank You !